Updated: Dec 28, 2018
If you weren't aware yet, Women Entrepreneurs of Hudson County, is a newly formed volunteer-led non-profit organization dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs. We are focused on providing resources and opportunities for those looking to expand their business.
It takes a lot of work and effort to build a non-profit from ground up and we want to show you the team helping this organization's mission. For our very first team feature [WE Feature The Team], we'd like to introduce you to Sonya Salierno, our Education Coordinator.
Sonya is a creative individual who marches to the beat of her own drummer. She is a native of Northern, NJ and currently lives in Weehawken, NJ with her husband and soon too, a baby. Some of the activities she enjoys in her part time are cooking, reading, riding her bike, the arts, architecture, learning more about foreign culture, and lots of craft projects!
Tell me about yourself + your business.
The business is called about-designs and we do floral/botanical/interior design. We’re located in Weehawken. Some of the types of projects we work on include, but not limited to botanical installations, weddings, styling of photo shoots and weekly deliveries. Our focus is very much design focused for the space + surroundings.
My education and background is in interior design. I graduated from FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology) with a BFA in Fine Arts. For over 10 years I worked on hospitality & residential interior projects. Later, I happened to land a position working as an in house interior designer for a new hotel brand in Manhattan. Part of my job involved some staging of the interiors or exteriors with plants and flowers. During college I had opportunistic experience of working in the event design business which really helped me in this situation.
After a year or so, I brought my sister in to help and we started a side business while both having full time jobs. She was a teacher at the time. It’s fun to work with a family member, although sometimes it can be stressful. But at the end of the day we know for the sake of family that we have to get along!!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Really it happened by accident. It wasn’t the sort of thing where I woke up one day and said today I should start a business. The idea of being able to create under my own persona is what inspired me most. I think most creative people prefer to work on their own terms.
What obstacles or struggles did you overcome and how did you get through it?
The process of formally setting up a business, opening a bank account, registering with the appropriate entities for tax purposes was a challenge. Asking questions is key. Sometimes asking the same question to several people is best because you might learn there is more than one way to handle it.
Why did you join the WE of Hudson County team?
It felt like a good group of people based on the first meeting. Sometimes you have to go with your instinct. I like the idea of being able to share information with others to prevent others from learning the hard way.
Why do you think WE of Hudson County is important to the community?
Working as an individual or small business can sometimes be limiting in that you are often alone. You may not have a team of people to collaborate with, especially in the beginning. Having a group to lean on or learn from is very helpful.
What are some of your best tools you like to use to help run your business?
Google documents, Squarespace, photoshop and we’re starting to use Honeybook.
What advice would you give to someone who is in the beginning stages of starting their business?
Keep your full time job while starting your business for as long as possible. You will need as much money as you can get. Also, health insurance is super expensive and hard to access as an individual.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Sonya and her business! Please let us know what you loved about her the most down in the comments below! Stay tuned for more WE Feature The Team!!
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